Jacob deGrom can't be faulted for coming up short of his first career victory.
Failing again in similar fashion could earn him a dubious distinction.
DeGrom has been outstanding through his first three starts, but they've all ended in losses for New York (25-29) as he's gone 0-2 with a 1.83 ERA.
The right-hander has been backed by four runs while becoming the first Mets pitcher to have an ERA under 2.00 through his first three starts without a win since Pete Harnisch and Mike Birkbeck in 1995.
Jim McAndrew is the only Mets rookie to do that through his first four starts in 1968.
The bullpen didn't do deGrom any favors Monday, wasting his 6 2-3 scoreless innings by surrendering five runs over the last two of a 5-3 defeat to Pittsburgh.
"My job is to keep us in the ballgame," deGrom told the team's official website. "I'm trying to go out there and do that every time. Wins will take care of themselves, I think, as long as I give us a chance."
DeGrom is also doing his part at the plate, going 4 for 5 while getting at least one hit in each of his three starts. A shortstop at Stetson, he's accounted for half of New York's hits by pitchers.
"I guess I've been seeing the ball pretty well," deGrom said.
The Mets may need him to go deep into this outing after fellow rookie Rafael Montero lasted 3 2-3 innings before seven relievers were used in a 6-5, 14-inning loss to the Phillies (24-28) on Friday.
New York had won the previous six meetings in Philadelphia, including a 4-1 victory in the opener of this series Thursday.
The Phillies will turn to Kyle Kendrick (1-5, 4.04), who may sympathize with deGrom's plight for a win.
Kendrick scattered six hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 9-0 victory over Colorado on Monday, his first in 17 starts since beating the Chicago Cubs 9-8 on Aug. 6. Kendrick was 0-10 with a 5.11 ERA during his drought while receiving an average of 2.51 runs of support.
"It was tough. It was a grind," Kendrick said. "I tried to keep games close, pitch deep and give us a chance. Some of those wins and losses are out of your control."
The right-hander gave up four runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-4 win at New York on May 10. He's won his last two home starts against the Mets, yielding four runs in 13 2-3 innings.
Reid Brignac could get a chance to build on his heroics from Friday, when his second hit delivered the Phillies' fourth win in 10 games.
"That was a big swing," manager Ryne Sandberg said of Brignac, who was making his first start since being recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley earlier this month.
Domonic Brown snapped out of his slump Friday, connecting for a three-run homer while adding another RBI. He had been 3 for 30 with one homer and two RBIs over his previous 10 games.
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